Pandemic ‘putting a strain’ on nonprofit that brings free health screenings to Stanislaus County

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STANISLAUS COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — They have been helping the under and uninsured in Stanislaus County with free health screenings on wheels but now volunteers with a local nonprofit need the community’s help so they may continue to assist some of the most vulnerable families. 

“Seeing a lot of people struggle, even myself, made me push myself to help others,” said student volunteer Genesis Feliciano.

Feliciano is just one of many high school students who help screen patients in some of the more rural and poorer parts of the Central Valley.

Registered nurses, such as Davis High School instructor Lori Norris, provide the students with guidance.

“I want them to get that feeling like I can make a difference and it all starts with just that first person that you help,” Norris told FOX40.

The free monthly health screenings are a product of Interventional Health Administrative Services, a nonprofit organization that strives to treat families no matter their citizenship or financial status.

“All that matters is that you’re a human being and you need help,” said volunteer and registered nurse Jasmine Johnson. “If you’re a human being and you need help, we’re here to help you.”

The organization’s founder, Frank Johnson, said for about a year they’ve driven out to communities to help.

“Sometimes we’ll see things that has absolutely nothing to do with the virus but it is life-threatening,” Johnson explained.

But the novel coronavirus has impacted IHAS in other ways.

Johnson said they used to have a contract under the Ceres Unified School District. However, because of COVID-19 and the school closures, their resources began to deplete.

“And this outbreak, it’s putting a strain on us,” he said.

Their personal protective equipment, such as face shields, gowns and gloves, is all thanks to donors.

Johnson said because the organization is dependent on donors, they are limited to providing free screenings once a month. However, if they get more donors and contributions, they are hoping to go out to more communities in need.

For a high school senior like Feliciano, who is figuring out her next step, seeing the value in health care is what pushes her to help others.

“And learn, keep learning every day,” she said.

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